Most credit cards in Canada charge a 2.5% fee for purchases in foreign currency. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but $1000 in spend internationally means $25 in fees. That’s close to a quarter of the annual fee of a premium credit card. There are a few options for cards without foreign transaction fees, but one card that is a no-brainer is the Home Trust Preferred Visa.
Home Trust Preferred Visa Review
Two major banks offer credit cards with no foreign transaction fee, both released this year. However, both cards have annual fees of over $100. The Home Trust Preferred Visa is the only credit card in Canada without foreign transaction fees AND annual fees. This card is worth keeping, especially if you find premium cards not worth it. Concurrently, I recommend using AMEX Global Transfer to pick up US credit cards, which often have better rewards.
Home Trust pulls your Equifax credit report. You can view this on Borrowell, the only service in Canada to offer a free Equifax credit score and report. Nowadays I don’t value hard inquiries as much, and it helps that your average account age should improve with this card open indefinitely. This product is unique because Home Trust isn’t a bank, but is one of the largest alternative mortgage lenders in Canada. Credit cards aren’t their primary line of business, which is why their product is not as refined as other competitors.
An application will take several weeks to process, you also aren’t currently able to change your PIN, and they only recently implemented paperless statements. Home Trust customer support is not as good, as say, American Express, but that is to be expected. Overall, these should be a minor inconvenience, and should improve as they continue to attract new cardholders. Oddly enough, Home Trust declined my application last year, even though I have excellent credit.
The primary cards in my wallet are the Cobalt Card, which earns 5x on dining and groceries, and the American Express Platinum Card, which earns 1.25x points on all other everyday spend. I have a variety of other cards, including the Chase Sapphire Preferred, to save on foreign transaction fees.
There are two other credit cards with no foreign transaction fees. The first is the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite, which offers 2x points on groceries, dining, entertainment and transit. You also earn an additional 10,000 points after $40,000 spend in a year, so maximizing the bonus, you can earn up to 2.25 points on bonus categories. It is a decent choice if you don’t like keeping track of multiple cards. The HSBC World Elite MasterCard is the other option, earning 3x on travel purchases with transfers to airline partners.
Rewards on this card is straightforward. You earn 1% cashback on all purchases, with no cap. A free roadside assistance membership is also included, which is neat. Otherwise, there is no insurance coverage, which makes sense considering the no-frills nature of this product. There was an offer last year offering 2% cashback for the first six months, but that’s a minor difference in most scenarios.
Overall, the Home Trust Preferred Visa is a unique credit card no foreign transaction fees and no annual fees being it’s primary selling point. The card itself is a bit clunky, but is well worth it for travellers. I make many purchases outside Canada, so having a card with no foreign transactions fees is extremely important. The other free alternative is the Stack MasterCard – however, that’s a debit card and doesn’t earn rewards.
Application Link: Home Trust Preferred Visa